CRM providers operate in a crowded market that consists of a handful of big players like Salesforce.com competing against many smaller solutions that offer different takes on a proven model. One has to be truly visionary to make a splash in this market, and that’s exactly what Pipedrive has managed to do. Based in San Francisco and Estonia, the company has created a cloud-based software solution that allows you to visualize the sales process from start to finish. In the company’s own words, Pipedrive is not a CRM tool – it’s a “pipeline tool” that is supposed to replace traditional CRM.
Pipedrive was founded by a team of sales experts and web application developers. With paying customers since March ’11, the company quickly skyrocketed to a staggering 1,000+ paying customers by April ’12. How did they do this? Co-founder Timo Rein explained in a recent blog post that their success hinged on three key items: 1) focusing on solving pain, not creating features; 2) getting in front of the right audience; and 3) making it easy to sign up for the solution. (Pipedrive offers a free 30-day trial of their solution.)
So what does Pipedrive do differently?
Pipedrive’s big play is to make life easier for sales reps, who are notorious for resisting CRM systems because they are too time-consuming. It’s an idea so simple, one wonders why most CRM providers focus on making life easier for management and not for the sales reps who are supposed to be using the tool. Pipedrive’s great strength is their ease of use and installation. Rather than offering a host of functionality that can bog a system down and make it hard to learn and employ, Pipedrive focuses on a handful of key features, the main one being a visualization of the sales pipeline that is not only aesthetically pleasing and easy to grasp, but that’s ridiculously straightforward. Updating deals can be done by simply dragging and dropping them from one stage to another. Most menus and other functionality require only a single click, and the solution is fully integrated with email, Google, and Excel.
Despite this ease of use and setup, however, the solution also offers countless customization options, to the extent that some customers are even using it for non-sales purposes – Pipedrive has been used to write a thesis and to pet sit, among other things.
Timo Rein has said that his greatest ambition with Pipedrive is “to get to the place where when you look at the business software which is made for sales people to do their job […] to be in a position where ‘we cracked it’.” Judging by Pipedrive’s extraordinary success and user adoption, Timo may be closer to fulfilling this ambition than he thinks.
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